Editor’s note: On March 29, 2017, under the leadership of Suki Halevi and the Anti-Defamation League in New Mexico, 19 Jewish organizations and 17 members of the clergy signed on to the following document.
We, the undersigned Jewish communal organizations and community leaders from across the State of New Mexico, now join national Jewish organizations and communities throughout the United States in expressing our support for refugees and immigrants.
New Mexico was home to pioneering Jews fleeing discrimination, persecution and hardship. New Mexico was the destination of Jewish scientists and other refugees escaping the Nazis. As we give thanks for our lives in the place that was a refuge for our ancestors, we also recall Jews who were barred from immigrating to the United States during the Holocaust and perished.
Today, thousands of refugees and families who survived war and other violence, and were approved for resettlement in the United States after years of vetting and review, are being turned away. We cannot be silent as victims of war and terror are again denied entry. The United States can protect its residents from threats without closing its doors to legitimate refugees and barring immigrants based solely on where they come from.
Welcoming refugees and immigrants is vital to who we are as Americans and as Jews. The Torah commands us in at least 36 places not to wrong someone who is a stranger, because we were strangers in Egypt. These ancient commandments require us to defend those who are oppressed and persecuted today. We therefore repudiate policies that demonize the stranger and unnecessarily bar refugees and other vulnerable immigrants. The United States is a nation built by immigrants and oppressed peoples, and America’s greatness, prosperity and creativity have sprung from our individual and collective triumphs over adversity.
We are also concerned by recent efforts to involve local law enforcement in federal immigration action. We believe this would put the safety of all our communities at risk, making it less likely that immigrants will seek assistance from law enforcement when they are victims of crime, or work with law enforcement when crimes have been committed. We are deeply concerned by the impact of deportations on vulnerable communities and families.
We are New Mexican Jews, living in a state with a 48% Hispanic population and 23 Native American pueblos, tribes and nations, and we are proud of New Mexico’s rich heritage and diversity.
Therefore, as Jewish communal organizations and Jewish clergy of New Mexico, we affirm our commitment to:
Advocate for a fair and humane immigration policy, and refugee resettlement policies that protect the United States while offering a home to families and individuals most in need.
Speak out against attempts to divide our communities based on fear and demonization.
Defend and be allied with friends, neighbors, co-workers, students, children and family members in immigrant communities who are living in fear and anxiety because they are targeted by anti-immigrant or anti-Muslim speech, incidents and crimes.
Call on our elected officials to speak out against all forms of bigotry and hate.
We remember our past, and therefore as Jews we make these pledges today, to welcome and defend the stranger and to affirm our respect for the diverse communities and heritage of New Mexico.
Anti-Defamation League, New Mexico Region Albuquerque, NM
Congregation Albert Albuquerque, NM
Congregation B’nai Israel Albuquerque, NM
Congregation Nahalat Shalom Albuquerque, NM
Hadassah Greater Albuquerque Albuquerque, NM
Hadassah Los Alamos Los Alamos, NM
Hadassah Santa Fe Santa Fe, NM
HaMakom Santa Fe, NM
Holocaust and Intolerance Museum
of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM
Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM
Jewish Federation of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM
Las Vegas Jewish Community, Inc. Las Vegas, NM
Los Alamos Jewish Center
Los Alamos, NM
New Mexico Jewish Historical Society Albuquerque, NM
Montefiore Cemetery Association Las Vegas, NM
Rabbinical and Cantorial Association
of Albuquerque Albuquerque, NM
Taos Jewish Center Taos, NM
Temple Beth El Carlsbad Carlsbad, NM
Temple Beth Shalom
Santa Fe, NM
University of New Mexico Hillel Albuquerque, NM
Rabbi Neil Amswych Temple Beth Shalom, Santa Fe, NM
Rabbi Evelyn Baz Congregation B’nai Israel, Albuquerque, NM
Rabbi Deborah J. Brin Albuquerque
Rabbi Chavah Carp Makor Albuquerque, Albuquerque, NM
Rabbi Paul J. Citrin Taos Jewish Center, Taos, NM
Rabbi John Feldman Albuquerque, NM
Rabbi Arthur Flicker Jewish Care Program, Albuquerque, NM
Cantor Barbara Finn Congregation Albert, Albuquerque, NM
Cantor Cindy Freedman HaMakom, Santa Fe, NM
Rabbi Shefa Gold CDEEP, Jemez Springs, NM
Rabbi Min Kantrowitz Albuquerque, NM
Rabbi Larry Karol Temple Beth-El, Las Cruces, NM
Rabbi Stephen Landau Santa Fe, NM
Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld Congregation Albert, Albuquerque, NM
Hazzan Jo Ann Rice Congregation Nahalat Shalom, Albuquerque, NM
Rabbi Jack Shlachter HaMakom, Santa Fe, NM
Rabbi Nahum Ward-Lev Scholar-in-Residence, Temple Beth Shalom, Santa Fe, NM